I met Megan in spring 1985 and four years later we were married. It is probably the best thing I ever did. We visited Iceland for our honeymoon and this blog includes a few photos we took during our ten days there. Most of mine were horribly over-exposed due to an incorrect film-speed setting on my camera, Megan was more successful with a small pocket camera.
Iceland was a destination we felt we wouldn’t easily forget and I was keen to see Harlequin and Barrow’s Goldeneye having not seen the later and only a female of the former, somewhat distantly on Shetland two years previously.
On 26 May we flew into Reykjavik where we spent four nights in a hotel near the airport. We took a city tour (on which it was announced with some enthusiasm that the outside temperature was plus one) and visited an open air museum (where it certainly wasn’t that warm) before joining a ‘Golden Circle tour’ to Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir. Our hotel was close to the coast and not far from the town enabling us to go on a few interesting walks between tours. Steam coming off geothermally heated streams provided some amusement especially when there were people sitting in them! The thermally heated open-air pool was very popular too. Food was very expensive, perhaps not surprising as most was imported, and we took advantage of lavish buffet breakfasts, although not quite to the extent of some guests who made large packed lunches from it.
A few Barrow’s Goldeneye were seen around Reykjavik each day as well as Whooper Swans, Scaup, Eider and a single Long-tailed Duck. Other more interesting sightings were a flock of 150 Knot, 18 Red-necked Phalaropes and several Glaucous Gulls and Snow Buntings. We saw a male Harlequin at Gullfoss, a very impressive waterfall on our Golden Circle tour. We then visited Geysir which was spouting regularly to moderate heights, but still was a little disappointing, and a rather unmemorable Thingvellir and seeing Pink-footed Geese, Merlin, Ptarmigan and Black-tailed Godwits on the way. We called in at a Garden Centre on the return to Reykjavik. It was treated as a great novelty and was perhaps the only one in Iceland? Indoor plants were their speciality but then nothing exotic would be likely to grow outside!
|Hofdi House in Reykjavik, neutral venue for the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit|
|me at Reykjavik Harbour|
|Megan at Tjornin Lake in central Reykjavik|
|Scaup on Tjorin|
|Reykjavik main street|
|the biggest trees we saw|
|Megan at the Open Air Museum|
|me there too|
|volcano crater on our Golden Circle Tour|
|hot pool at Geysir|
|en route to Dalvik|
|Grimsey, Ejya Fjord and our car|
|Dalvik to Akureyri main road|
|south of Dalvik|
|snow-capped mountains all around|
|Harlequins at Akureyri|
The following day we set off early for Lake Myvatyn which I had been very keen to visit for some time. A big advantage of visiting in early June is that it was too early for the midges which plague some visitors although parts of the lake were still frozen! We briefly stopped at Godafoss on the way but the draw of wildfowl was too great (for me anyway). Driving around the lake we saw 3 Red-throated and 4 Great Northern Divers, 18 Slavonian Grebes, 25 Whooper Swans, 14 species of duck including Harlequins and Barrow's Goldeneye, 25 Ptarmigan, 95 Red-necked Phalaropes, Arctic Skua, Short-eared Owl and 6 Snow Buntings.
|Megan at Godafoss|
|Tufted Duck on a lake near Myvatyn. We saw 250 during the day and 75 Scaup|
|Long-tailed Ducks on a slowly thawing lake. We saw 16 in total.|
|wintery scene west of Myvatyn, it was hard to believe it was 1 June.|
|Harlequin by the Laxa River, 66 of the day's total of 79 were here (11 at Frijodten and we got back to Akureyri in time to see our usual pair)|
|Barrow's Goldeneye, we saw at least 50|
|lava field at Myvatyn|
|Great Northern Diver|
|most of the lake was unfrozen|
|Dimberger lava at Myvatyn|
|hot sulphur pools near Myvatyn|
|we found these almost as impressive as those at Geysir and having them to ourselves was much nicer!|
|summer plumaged Purple Sandpiper|
|opposite Akureyri on the drive to Husavik|
|Black-tailed Godwit on the way to Husavik|
|Puffins at Husavik|
|auks and a pair of Harlequins (nearest birds) at Husavik|
|returning to Akureyri|
|Akureyri from across the fjord|
|me near Akureyri Airport, pleased to be wearing gloves in early June|